Aftertaste

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The vicious chicken god has been neutralized, at least for now. I choose to be lazy and content while the town rebuilds itself. Yay us!


***

My cheerfulness and new-found confidence lasted at least a few days, during which I enjoyed a delightful vacation with Domenica. We hadn't had much time to be lovers yet and we caught up. Good think school didn't get interrupted too badly, Nathan already cringes when we kiss.

I lazed around at her house as I know how. When I wasn't sleeping or laying in the sun on the porch, we went hiking in the mountains around. Domenica is quite fond of it and she knows really beautiful spots. I've been around for a while, but I never bothered to go sight seeing. Of course, we also had quite a lot of nice, tender sex. Having such a close encounter with death made our hesitations seem pretty silly in retrospect, so we just went for it. What I love the most is cuddling like a cat in her arms. It all goes back to sleeping a lot, I guess.

Then reality came knocking and as it turns out, being a hero and finding love or not, the world is still the same old dump. I'm unemployed again, even though I did receive a paycheck for the few days I was there. The factory has been closed for a while. I'm glad it did or I would have had to resign. I'm not going back among the half-dead workers of that place. To be honest, I'm not convinced that they will be more interesting now that they're not brainwashed anymore.

Back on the job, Domenica is much less available than I'd like her to be. Even though she gave herself a few days off, what happened in the mountain is a golden opportunity for her. She's practically guaranteed to get clearance from that shady Agency now, so she'll be able to study the temple and finely comb the jungle of El Pollo all she wants. For my part, I'm not going back there anytime soon.

But all of this is still about the same selfish, lazy old me. The real blow was the victims.

Some of them I knew. Rodrigo and Leon haven't been found yet. I suspect they probably were part of the pile of dead flesh Ñox Cayù left behind itself. There were others. The couple who had the drugstore downtown. Three people from the same street. All those people had the same thing in common: no remains. No way to know if all of them were really dead or if they had just turned crazy from the god's influence and skipped town. It sucks, when you can't mourn because you still hope.

A few days back, we had a little get together, intended for the people who know or at least suspect what happened. The goal was to simply drop a few flowers off at the mountain and walk back. A way to deal with the death toll, to say thank you and good bye to the missing ones. I was with Tig on that one, after what she lived through. Domenica was invited too. She didn't really know anyone, but she has a heart. My parents didn't wanna come. They play it off like they don't want to hang out with "my weird crowd" but I think they were just scared shitless by what they went through. It was supposed to be small-scale, invite people who'd care, let's do this. I didn't realize the turnout we were gonna get.

A good third of the town was there. People from all ages. They had left work, school, homes to be there and drop a flower, a letter, a cutout of colored paper. How we underestimate how much people know and understand!

We payed out respects in silence. The weirdness of it all made it impossible to strike conversations about the disappearances. Everyone knew, but we were all there pretending, shifting on our feet, looking like a group of loners all waiting for the same bus. Still, it warmed my heart. Domenica had brought a chocolate cake and lemonade. I was among the select few who got to taste it before it got gulped down by a hundred grateful mouths. There are no strangers when good food is involved.

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